Master Smartenna + channel rating: This TV antenna self-adjusts to pull all possible channels

Have you ever had a pair of “rabbit ears” on TV when you were growing up? If you have done so, you may have to tune them in different ways for different stations. That’s because different frequencies are reflected, amplified, and attenuated by the things in your house in different ways, so getting strong and continuous waves across all channels can be difficult. .

The same is true for digital TVs, but without the notch, the only way you can affect the reception is by moving the antenna around the room. Channel Master CM-3001HD Smartenna + changes all that.

At first glance, the Smartenna + looks like a typical indoor TV antenna. It’s a sheathed, flat plastic panel that connects the antenna cable. But it’s much smarter than a conventional antenna. Inside are a basic TV tuner and an amplified antenna that can be electrically changed to any of the seven types of reception.

This review is part of TechHive’s coverage of the best TV antennas, where you will find reviews of competitive products, along with a buyer’s guide to the features you should consider when shopping.

When you plug in the antenna, the antenna cycles through each pattern and counts the number of TV channels it can receive with each model. Once done, it will solve an issue that will bring you the largest number of channels. This technology is based on “control antennas” used in certain smartphones and Wi-Fi routers and access points to improve reception.

It seems too complicated for a small antenna, so we put it to the test.

smartenna 1 Martyn Williams / IDG

A small button on the antenna base rotates manually through the receiver samples.

Setting

There are a few things to keep in mind when setting up Smartenna +. First, you need to find a location near a power outlet, as the antenna needs power. Channel Master provides a 6-foot power cord and a 16-foot coax cable with the antenna and power adapter in the middle. If you can’t find a place within reach, you can buy a longer cable.

The supplied cable features a neat new cinch connector, designed to maintain good electrical conductivity without twisting (you just need to push in).

The second thing to remember is that you should hang it on the wall before you plug it in. That’s because as soon as you connect the source, it will start scanning for channels. The white LED on the base of the device flashes to show its scan progress, and after a few minutes, when the LED is off, it’s done.

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